At one point we were told that Chief Schultz and crew believed that they'd managed to put the genie back in the bottle only to have Councilors Winter, O'Malley, and Cadigan drop a press bomb on their efforts. The result was the lead news story on KRQE, and KOAT with KOB running it later in the newscast. APD ended the day in full bunker mode sending John Walsh out to express hastily cobbled together outrage.
(Sidebar)OK, so maybe the APD outrage wasn't feigned. On camera, John Walsh looked to be shaking with rage. The 5th floor is certainly not happy with elected officials sticking their noses behind APD's curtain. One would think that city councilors have not only the authority to ask questions of the Chief of Police but have the obligation to do so when it appears that administration officials may be abusing their authority.
We got our eyes on both the press release from the council that included their letter to the chief, and an incredibly poorly written reaction from APD - part of which was read on-camera by APD's spinmeister John Walsh.
We would respectfully request that before APD releases a written statement to the press or the public that they proof read it, run it by an English 101 student, or at least run spell check. We have to read these things after all and we would prefer it if the sentences made some sort of well... sense.
APD's reaction contained a bizarre mix of denials, admissions, outrage, and accusations. They deny the investigation had anything to do with Sergeant Heh's appearance before the council and admit that his public comments were directed at the APOA. (To criticize the Chief, Department, or the Almighty Alcalde could be construed as a violation of APD's SOP.) APD makes the claim that "complaints were voiced" by sworn officers of the sergeant creating a hostile work environment over the APOA contract. They also claim that said environment "was being perpetrated by other sworn members of the APD."
By the way that last part is the basis for APD's IA investigation. According to APD's "complaints" the sergeant managed to create a "hostile work environment" relating to a contract that was presented and voted on in 24 hours.
Folks, these are cops. They deal with hostile environments on a daily basis. We have a hard time believing that a lone sergeant even with determined help could create an environment hostile enough to even be noticed by most officers.
(Sidebar)Moving on to the rest of this ridiculous illiterate reaction... The Chief wraps himself in altruistic stupidity claiming that "[he] will not tolerate any possible intimidation or interference in any way regarding fair process, such as the recent voting that took place." Huh? Won't tolerate intimidation? (See previous Sidebar)
If one would like to talk about hostile work environments, let's talk about officers having to keep their mouths shut - even when they're not on duty - for fear of having someone on the 5th or 11th floor take offense and start an IA investigation that could take away the retirement that you've quite literally bled for. That's a hostile work environment and that's the environment our Eyes tell us the 5th floor has created for all of the officers that have taken the oath to protect us. We imagine that it's pretty difficult to deal with the criminals in front of you while trying to protect your back from being stabbed by your own department's leadership.
The next few points of the APD statement basically take the council to task for doing their jobs telling them to butt-out and "chastis[ing] them for trying to turn internal workings of the Dept. into politics publicity." (Walsh actually read that last part on the air.)
Finally, one last claim - one that the 5th floor probably felt was the coup de grâce. They voiced their "great" concern that Sergeant Heh may be working on Councilor Winter's Campaign and "this might have political motivation." Fortunately, the TV news guys gave this all of the coverage that it deserved... none.
As far as we're aware, there's only one semi-announced candidate for mayor. At least there's only one candidate that has sued to make sure that they can run for mayor should they decide not to run for governor - which of course they've already decided not to do because they decided to run for U.S. Senate, something they found out they couldn't do only to have to sue in order to keep their current job which they would have lost. Yes... we're talking about the Almighty Alcalde - Mayor Martin Chavez. And yes, he's running for the only position that he could possibly win - at least three years ago.
Floating the idea that this whole thing is more about Councilor Winter than the shenanigans of the Albuquerque Police Department's leadership is just one more way to try and kill the messenger and distract the rest of us. It shows just how politically involved the department has become. It shows that they're more concerned about keeping their jobs than doing their jobs. It shows that we're all in trouble - not just a sergeant that steps up and speaks his mind.
Councilors Winter, O'Malley, and Cadigan - Press Release and Letter to Chief Schultz
In our early morning pajama clad haze we inadvertently screwed-up the link for the city council press release. Thanks to an alert Eye reader, we have corrected the link above.